The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has granted an exemption to the American Concrete Pumping Association (ACPA) that will allow its members utilizing the records of duty status (RODS) exception to extend their work day.
In granting the exemption FMCSA said it “enables all concrete pump operators, concrete pumping companies, and drivers who operate concrete pumps to use the short-haul exception but return to their work-reporting location within 14 hours instead of the usual 12 hours.”
The agency said an analysis of the request and public comments showed that granting the exemption “will achieve a level of safety that is equivalent to, or greater than, the level that would be achieved absent such exemption.”
ACPA sought the exemption to bring its members, which number more than 600 companies and 7,000 workers nationwide, the same level of consideration as drivers of ready-mixed concrete delivery vehicles under 49 CFR 395.1(e)(1)(ii)(B). Section 395.1(e)(1)(ii)(B) allows drivers of ready-mixed concrete delivery vehicles to rely on the short-haul exception provided they return to their work-reporting locations and are released from work within 14 consecutive hours.
The group said that concrete pumps work with a perishable product delivered on a just-in-time basis, the same as ready-mixed operators.
“Timing and scheduling are critical to ensure a high-quality result. Allowing concrete pump drivers to use the short-haul exception but return to their reporting location within 14 hours instead of 12 hours, would harmonize the hours-of-service rules for drivers of concrete pumps with the rules for drivers of the vehicles that supply the concrete,” ACPA said in its request.
The exemption applies industry-wide, including those concrete pump vehicles that cross state lines.
ACPA said concrete pumper drivers only spend between 25% and 32% of their shifts driving and usually travel less than 25 miles. Break times generally exceed 33% of the time and can range up to 55% of the time.
“ACPA further explained that a concrete pump cannot operate without concrete supplied by a ready-mixed truck. Having conflicting requirements creates confusion on job sites. Clear and consistent requirements between the concrete pumps and the ready-mixed trucks will help ensure an equivalent level of safety on the job site,” FMCSA explained in the Federal Register notice announcing the exemption. “ACPA adds that concrete pumping and placement companies work in collaboration with ready-mixed companies. Scheduling local business contracts in compliance with state and federal regulations is complicated, given that some concrete companies operate under different FMCSA rules.”
Generally, comments to the request were positive, with the National Read Mixed Concrete Association (NRMCA) supporting the request.
“As outlined in ACPA’s request, due to the nature of concrete pump operators’ schedules and inherent work practices that are closely aligned with the ready mixed concrete industry, NRMCA agrees that increasing the return to work- 6 reporting location threshold from 12 to 14 hours would not diminish safety on our nation’s roadways and ready mixed concrete construction sites,” it wrote.
Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety (Advocates) and the Alliance for Driver Safety & Security (Trucking Alliance) filed a joint comment opposing the exemption.
“The Advocates and the Trucking Alliance oppose the ACPA Application for exemption on the grounds that the Application fails to meet the statutory and regulatory requirements of applications for exemption. The Application is defective in several respects since it does not justify the need for the exemption, does not access the safety impacts of the exemption, and does not explain or document how an equivalent level of safety would be achieved. All of which are statutory requirements of a valid exemption application,” they wrote.
FMCSA has granted similar exemptions to the National Asphalt Paving Association and the Motion Picture Association of America.